May 1, 2017

Neotera Cave du Grand Narbonne

By In Exploring the Languedoc
In the never ending quest to find the best artisanal winery, the obscure grape or the finest vintages huge quantities of cash can just about buy, it is easy to forget that vast quantities of wine is made each year. Wine that is drunk, quite happily, by thousands. Made by huge organisations or large cooperatives. The very other end of the wine spectrum. It is easy to ignore or deride these companies wines. Mass production and brands simply do not fit in with the romanticism and allure of the lone striving wine maker with his little plot of vines in off the radar hyper-picturesque locations.

A visit to a large cooperative such as Neotera Cave du Grand Narbonne can hardly be described as picturesque. Its vast, huge expanse of stainless steel felt more akin to a refinery than a producer of fine wines. But we duly clambered over and around the tanks which, under leaden skies and rain, certainly felt a world away from anything romantic.

Three hundred or so grape growers form the Neotera co-operative calling on their vineyard technicians, regulatory expertise, and skills in making and cellaring the wines. Thee 300 produce 16,000 hectolitres of Chardonnay each year, 35,000 of Merlot, 20,000 of Cabernet Sauvignon, 2,200 of Vermintino etc etc. Interestingly 96% of production is sold unbottled.

In Photographs Neotera Cave du Grand Narbonne

And the wines? Drinkable if ultimately unexciting? Far from it. Put pre-conceptions to one side – a large co-operative can make enjoyable, interesting and good value wines. Our opening Vermentino was flavoursome and balanced, the following Viognier had a lovely fresh aroma and the Chardonnay-Viognier blend was equally good. The Viognier adding just the right level of aromatics to the fulsome Chardonnay. Three reds followed but some devil brought out a platter of local charcuterie and I rather got lost in what I was drinking and eating…

Neotera Cave du Grand Narbonne
3 rue Coluche
11590 Ouveillan

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